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Van fire, wreck prompts closure of EB lanes of I-40 in Durham

Alfred Charles, WRAL.com managing editorMay 23, 2019

Authorities closed the eastbound lanes of Interstate 40 near U.S. Highway 501 in Durham on Wednesday afternoon after a van crash and fire resulted in heavy traffic gridlock just as the rush hour commute was shifting into high gear.

The crash occurred around 3:30 p.m., but no one was injured.

Officials said a golf group was using the 15-seat passenger can for an outing.

It is unclear what caused the fire.

“It was scary when I was going eastbound and no one was there,” said one driver who called 911. “It was scary because you don’t know how out of control a fire will get and traffic was stopping.”

The traffic incident in Durham Wednesday afternoon marked the third major accident on Triangle roads and freeways, including a multi-vehicle crash on New Bern Avenue in Raleigh and a morning crash on I-85 in Durham.

Several lanes on those roadways were closed -- but have since reopened -- while law enforcement officers investigated those incidents.

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